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Launching Imagine Better Media

Our media landscape is dead.

The media runs on trust, and everywhere you look, there's less and less of it to spread around.

The cable news industries and national newspapers are out of touch, local news is struggling to stay relevant, and the "new media" focuses on getting as many clicks as possible while not caring about the truth.

That's where we come in. We are imagining a better kind of media: one that focuses on the story behind the news. From national to local news, we will give you the history, problems, and possible solutions for stories in the world around us.

The rest of this article will take you on a journey through our new venture, showcasing the storytelling format we will use for our stories in the future. But it's not just about us telling the stories. We want you to be part of this journey. Please read until the end, when we will share how you can contribute and get involved in shaping the narrative.

The history of the news media could fill a full four-year degree and then some. We can't review everything here, but we can hit some highlights and roughly divide the history into four periods.

The first period, I am calling the political era.

It starts with the founding and ends with the Civil War.

The first news organizations in our country were pretty overtly political, from partisan papers that had words like Federalist, Republican, and Democrat in the title to explicitly pro and anti-slavery newspapers.

They were also primarily unprofitable during this era, funding themselves from parties, candidates, and patrons rather than selling papers. 

Yes, the printing press has existed for hundreds of years, but it wasn't enough to make regular newspapers profitable.

Freedom of the press, enshrined in the First Amendment, and the growth of political parties drove the development of newspapers in this first era. The news was primarily political, mostly biased, and mostly local. Importantly, it was also mostly not a business but a political tool.

The Civil War leads us to our second period, the investigative era. 

It started after the war and ended in 1920.

After the Civil War, newspapers turned into businesses and were about profit over anything else.

Three primary inventions drove the costs of producing a newspaper to record lows.

The first was the rotary steam presses, which were now standard and cheap, making printing more affordable than it had ever been.

The second was the invention of paper made from wood pulp in 1867, which drove down the cost of paper.

The third was the telegram, which made getting national news cheap and quick.

These advancements created an explosion of new, "independent," profit-seeking newspapers created to make money and the conversion of many of those partisan papers to nominally independent papers.

So how did these newspapers convince you to buy their newspaper subscriptions over the other many choices?

They broke the news.

The investigative era was when breaking a corruption scandal made a newspaper—from the New York Times breaking stories about Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall to Ida B Wells breaking stories about Jim Crow in Tennessee to Upton Sinclair breaking stories about the meatpacking industry.

If you broke a story about a systemic corruption scandal, whether true or not, you could have made your paper a lot of money and made a name for yourself.

The aftermath of WWI leads us into our third period, the professional era.

It started in 1920 and lasted until 1995.

Reeling from the propaganda of WWI, the industry tried to fix itself and increase its journalism standards.

Two events happened in 1920 to set off the era of professional journalism.

The first was the publishing of the book Liberty and the News by Walter Lippman in response to the propaganda of WWI and other lies in major newspapers. 

He argues that since the will of the people controls a republic and the news controls the will of the people, journalism needs to professionalize and report only unbiased, objective truth.

This professionalization leads to norms like not reporting a story without multiple sources and institutions like journalism schools at significant colleges. It also leads to the misunderstanding that humans can report the news without bias.

The second event is the first radio news broadcast in November. Radio, and later TV, established a system where single personalities presented the news. As radio and TV became more popular, these anchors, or "talking heads," became trusted pillars of society.

This centralization inside news organizations matched an increase in regulations that drove smaller competitors out of business, concentrating the industry into just a few organizations.

The centralization grew to the point where the three big broadcast stations, NBC, CBS, and ABC, had an effective monopoly on truth in the US.

The explosion of the internet leads us to our final period, the New Media Era.

It started in 1995 and continues to the present day.

After the FCC repealed the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 and the internet took off in the 90s, news media organizations were allowed to admit their bias and break stories that the big three wanted covered up.

Between 1995 and 1996, we founded three media organizations that exemplified this.

MSNBC, Fox News, and the Drudge Report were all founded as news organizations with a viewpoint that wanted to break news when it happened.

The news media rapidly decentralized from here, with more cable news programs and internet news organizations. This decentralization has led to today's world with many low-quality news organizations.

With this explosion of new media organizations, we have more problems.

The first is that local news is dying. The internet has incentivized even the most minor organizations to focus only on the national media to gain the largest audience possible.

The second is the need for more focus on the truth. Most organizations today care more about exaggerating headlines to get more clicks and, therefore, more ad revenue. Social media algorithms and Google both incentivize this.

The third problem is the pace. Focusing on breaking news pushes organizations to refrain from explaining but report and move on. The news has become surface-level, with no exploration of the causes of the problems in our communities. Buzzwords and sound bites dominate today's media.

The fourth is that we have moved from an era of no gatekeepers at the beginning of this era, when anyone could post anything online, to a situation where organizations like Google and Facebook can kill an organization with an algorithm change.

These four problems are the ones we are trying to solve today.

The first solution we have is using personal networks to make local news coverage possible and profitable. Our local news coverage will bring the community to you. With live events, meet and greets, and community groups, we will be your source for learning and interacting with your community.

We will highlight local non-profits, elected officials, and business leaders you can meet in person or in our online groups. We will connect you with the right people if you want to be involved. We will be your favorite platform if you want to be an active observer. And if you wish to sit back from the comfort of your home, you can do that, too!

The second solution focuses on the following two problems: the media's pace and lack of truth. Slowing down and being deliberate about reporting means we will never break the news. Still, it also means we can take the time to do the work, research topics, and let stories unfold before reporting on them.

Long-form reporting allows us to go beyond buzzwords and into the nuance of how the world works. And yes, we are approaching the world from a conservative viewpoint. 

That doesn't mean we will always agree with conservative pundits. It means that when we look at a solution to a problem, the goal is almost always to include more freedom for more people.

The third solution is going to be the diversification of platforms. We will push out content on all the major social media platforms and try to grow our audience there. Still, ultimately, we want people to interact with us directly on our website and in person.

We will start with three weekly shows, investigating national, state, and local stories. We will soon add in-person events interviewing local community leaders that you can attend and meet those people yourself.

Then, we want to add two shows, one business show and one lifestyle show, to round out the content.

We will release our content in video, podcast, and written forms so you can consume it however you want.

So that leads us to the inevitable question of how you can get involved and help us build.

If you made it this far, thank you so much.

The first thing you can do is like and subscribe buttons to the video above.

Then, you can go on your social media of choice and follow Imagine Better Media.

After that, please share us with as many people as possible, both on social media and in person.

Then, finally, you can go to our site,, click on the subscription tab, and sign up for one of our subscription packages.

We are pouring all of the money from this back into providing you with the best product possible.

Let's imagine better and make it happen.


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